NRA Explore
APPEARS IN Gun Laws

Airline Transportation of Firearms

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Airline Transportation of Firearms

To answer questions new airline security procedures have raised for NRA members transporting firearms in their checked baggage, NRA-ILA staff contacted the Office of Security Regulation and Policy at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

You can transport a firearm in your checked baggage subject to state and local restrictions, but you should first check with your airline or travel agent to see if firearms are permitted in checked baggage on the airline you are flying. Ask about limitations or fees that may apply at this time. NRA-ILA is working toward achieving uniformity and fairness in the rules and regulations that law-abiding gun owners face in their travels.

While surely few NRA members could forget this, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) wants to remind all travelers that attempting to bring firearms onto a plane in carry-on luggage is a serious federal violation. This is a "strict liability" offense, and TSA says violators can be, and have been, convicted regardless of criminal intent, or even if they simply forgot they possessed a firearm. TSA is obliged to enforce all the existing laws within its jurisdiction and will do so vigorously.

Firearms carried as checked baggagemust be unloaded, packed in a locked hard-sided container and declared to the airline at check-in. Only the passenger may have the key or combination. Small arms ammunition must be placed in an appropriate container: "securely packed in fiber, wood, or metal boxes, or other packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition. " Under TSA regulations, ammunition may be packed in the same locked container as the unloaded firearm, but airline rules may differ.

Some airlines, as private businesses, have imposed additional restrictions or requirements, such as limiting the number of guns that can be transported in a single case, or providing different standards under which gun cases may or may not be exempt from excess baggage limitations. Especially for international flights, many airlines follow industry guidelines that limit ammunition to 11 lbs. per passenger. Again, NRA-ILA is working to secure fair and uniform rules.

Following Congress's mandate that all checked baggage must be screened for explosives, many travelers have become concerned by announcements that passengers should leave bags unlocked to allow hand inspection. This suggestion, the TSA made clear, does not apply to baggage containing firearms.All gun containers must still be locked after they are declared at the ticket counter.

Checked bags-including those containing firearms-will then be screened for explosives by various means. Depending on the airport, methods may include high-tech "sniffers" that analyze chemical vapors, X-ray machines, trained bomb detection dogs or a combination of these systems. Not all of these methods can differentiate explosives from the gunpowder residues on a fired gun or in loaded ammunition.

If the screening detects explosive materials other than those associated with ammunition, or if screeners can't determine the exact nature of the alarm, and if all means available (such as X-rays) cannot rule out the possible presence of explosives, TSA screeners, working with airline representatives, will make every effort to contact the passenger so that the passenger can supply the key or combination to open the case, eliminating the need to break locks.

Cases will not be labeled as containing firearms. That practice was outlawed almost 10 years ago. Federal law now states: "No common or contract carrier shall require or cause any label, tag, or other written notice to be placed on the outside of any package, luggage, or other container that such package, luggage, or other container contains a firearm." [18 USC Sec. 922(e)] TSA will warn any airline that is marking cases that it is in violation of the law.

As always, since some airline counter clerks may have little training or experience in these procedures, gun owners should contact the airline in advance, obtain a written copy of the airline policy from a reservation clerk or the airline's website, and bring it to the airport in order to answer any questions that arise at check-in. For further information, see: http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/assistant/editorial_1666.shtm

Below are links to information from specific airlines.

Alaska Airlines

American Airlines

Continental Airlines

Delta Airlines

First Air

Frontier Airlines

Southwest Airlines

United Airlines

U.S. Airways

 

For more information about transporting firearms see the NRA-ILA Guide to the Interstate Transportation of Firearms


Also, see information about the BATFE Form For Nonimmigrant Aliens

TRENDING NOW

News  

Friday, July 31, 2015

Los Angeles City Council Targets Law-Abiding With Magazine Ban

Back in 2013, the city of Los Angeles’s city council proposed an ordinance banning the possession of magazines ...

News  

Friday, July 31, 2015

Gun Control "Study" Misses the Mark Badly on Lawful Self-Defense

Likely as a response to the growing number of American’s who have come to realize that having a ...

News  

Friday, July 31, 2015

When Bureaucrats Make “Sport” of Fundamental Liberties, Congress Must Act

In May, I discussed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ varying interpretations of the phrase “sporting ...

Friday, July 31, 2015

Bill Seeks to Choke Off Anti-Gun "Choke Point"

Only July 30, The House Financial Services Committee marked up and passed out of committee H.R. 766, the ...

News  

Friday, July 31, 2015

Take Two Losses and Call Me in the Morning: Florida Court Again Sides With Patient Privacy, Hands Nosy Doctors Second Defeat

Anti-gun doctors may need to get their own blood pressure checked after the U.S. Court of Appeals for ...

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, July 31, 2015

Famed Law Professor, Defense Attorney Latest to Suggest Second Amendment Needs to Go

The legal profession is full of blowhards, egomaniacs, hypocrites, and elitists, but even so, rarely are all those ...

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered ...

News  

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

President’s Column: If Gun Restrictions Were Applied To Technology, They Would Not Compute

What if computer owners were the object of Bloomberg’s lies? What would be the public reaction if the ...

News  

Friday, June 26, 2015

Serious Anti-Gunners Show What Compromise on Gun Control Would Mean

Whether to capitalize on a tragedy for political purposes, or because their urge to “do something” isn’t tempered ...

News  

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Obama's Social Security Administration to Strip Millions of Americans of their Right to Keep and Bear Arms

As the L.A. Times reported on July 18, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is currently developing a program to ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.